Design and Performance of a Communications System for a Low-Cost High Altitude Balloon Platform for Troposphere and Stratosphere Research
Date of Award
Thesis - Open Access
Master of Science in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering
Aroh Barjatya, Ph.D.
First Committee Member
Eduardo Rojas, Ph.D.
Second Committee Member
Tianyu Yang, Ph.D.
AFOSR Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), "Integrated Measurement and Modeling Characterization of Stratospheric Turbulence", is a 5-year effort to resolve significant operational issues concerning hypersonic vehicle aerothermodynamics, boundary layer stability, and aero-optical propagation. In situ turbulence measurements along with modeling will quantify spatiotemporal statistics and the dependence of stratospheric turbulence on underlying meteorology to a degree not previously possible. Data from high altitude balloons sampling up to kHz is required to characterize turbulence to the inner-scale, or smaller, over paltitudes from 20 km to 35+ km.
This thesis presents the development of a standard balloon bus, based on reliable COTS components, that includes radios operating in Ham/ISM frequencies with high-gain ground station antennas to achieve high telemetry rates that potentially enable sub-cm scale sampling. It also presents the development of controlled descent systems based on reliable COTS components that allow high resolution unperturbed measurements during the descent of the balloon payloads. Both single and double balloon configurations for a controlled descent are investigated while maintaining a suitable cost for mass production of the system. We are also investigating configurations for multiple ground station to allow the use of Single Payload Multiple Ground Stations strategies to facilitate low error rate high volume data downlinking and closely-timed launches. The performance of using some retransmission techniques to download the data over altitudes from 20 to 35+km when the balloon is out of the altitude range of interest (below 20 km) is analyzed; thus, being able to reduce the percentage of packet losses even during slow descent rates, reaching long slant ranges.
This thesis is designed and implemented using Arduino IDE and MATLAB for software development and testing, circuit design with National Instrument's Multisim and Ultiboard, transceivers configuration with proprietary software, extensive components and system testing, 3D printing, temperature calibrations using a TestEquity temperature chamber, and actual high-altitude balloon launches for final performance analysis.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Gómez, Noemí Miguélez, "Design and Performance of a Communications System for a Low-Cost High Altitude Balloon Platform for Troposphere and Stratosphere Research" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses. 479.